Run Report #212 – 18th May by Louise Lockwood with our latest parkrun takeover

Today saw Market Harborough parkrun event number 212,18th May 2019.

This week 366 people ran, jogged and walked the course, we had 29 first timers and 65 shiny new Personal Bests. Also representatives of 21 different running clubs took part.

Today saw my running club Desborough & Rothwell perform the volunteer takeover at Market Harborough. It’s our third year of volunteering, helping to promote our ‘Two Counties Half Marathon’ which will be run next on the 8th of September.

Same as the last two years I volunteered to co ordinate the event, as Harborough is my home parkrun. Sending a shout out weeks ago amongst club members, I received a great response.

Once again I’m amazed and hold such gratitude for the work and time that goes into holding parkrun. I’ve liaised with Lisa and Beverley for weeks, the RD’s really do rock, without you guys the run wouldn’t happen!!

Today I tail walked, I thoroughly enjoyed it with a very speedy tail. I loved watching everyone run today no matter the speed, there was commitment, drive and effort!!

All went to plan, no dramas!!! Four missing barcodes finally located in a pocket, phew I can relax.

Thanks Market Harborough for making us all feel so welcome and hopefully we will be back again next year.

Happy running to you all
Louise x


Run Report #211 – 11th May 2019 by Simon Hobbs

What another great Saturday morning we’ve had.  358 runners and walkers plus dogs and buggies making their way round Welland Park for anything up to an hour.  34 lovely volunteers who set up, cleared up and then many of us (apart from the RD) sat having a chat with friends and fellow parkrunners for another couple of hours.  A fine way to spend Saturday morning.


Having now been on the England Athletics Sight Loss Awareness and Guide running course with a few of my colleagues from Market Harborough parkrun, I thought this would be a good opportunity to tell other runners something more about it and how now is a good time to step forward.  I’ve paced a few times and that is rewarding in itself, but there is something extra special about the trust between the Visually Impaired (VI) runner and their guide when negotiating the three and a bit laps round Welland Park while 350 plus other runners are flying past.


We have about 20 potential Guide runners and probably a dozen of those guide regularly (with one new member joining us this morning).  There are seven VI runners / walkers, all of whose times have improved as they and their guides have become more confident.  The VI runners range in age from 17 to 70 and some prefer to walk and some keep on setting PBs. Thankfully (for me anyway) all the runners have started from walking and have gradually gained pace.  I’m not quite sure what it would be like to guide an already fast runner.  I think Roger can give us a view on that!


Guiding gives you a completely different perspective on a parkrun.  We may all think we know the turns and changes of surface and even the slopes, but imagine putting your trust in someone to communicate sufficient detail to negotiate the course for anything from 30 minutes to an hour?


The way many of the current group of Guides have learnt is through an initial practice session whereby runners are blindfolded and guided by their partner and then you swap. Both roles are equally important and enlightening.  When blindfolded, one’s other senses are heightened, but your imagination can take over unless you listen carefully to and are physically guided by your partner.  While guiding, you have to assimilate every potential hazard (bollards, changes of surface, path edging, twigs etc.) and think of the best way to either warn your partner or guide them around it (so they don’t even know it was a hazard).


This may sound daunting, but it really does mean that you consider and appreciate every step round the 5km course.  Yes, there will be potential problems (there have been falls) and that river can seem very close when the faster runners are overtaking (just ask James), but when you both pass the finish line, it makes it all worthwhile.  So much so, I signed up to attend the course and now have a Guide runners’ licence.


If you’d like to join the VI group, there is another practice session planned very soon.  Email the team at or stop and ask one of the VI pairs - preferably after parkrun!



Simon Hobbs


Run Report #210 – 4th May by George Lucas??

A long time ago

[well last Saturday actually],

in a galaxy

[hmm, it’s a park]

far, far away

[I suppose it depends upon where you live, but it’s pretty central to Market Harborough]...

It is a period of civil war

[what? - oh, people battling against their own PBs – I get it!].

Rebel spaceships

[Yes, look out for Roy’s van at the Start Corner],

striking from a hidden base

[The café’s in the middle bit – it’s quite easy to see],

have won their first victory

[it’s not a race!]

against the evil Galactic Empire

[everyone has a ‘nemisis’ they chase!].

During the battle

[let’s settle for 'parkrun' shall we?],

Rebel spies

[they’re called Marshals thank you very much]

managed to steal secret plans

[The Run Director’s briefing notes are indeed top secret]

to the Empire's ultimate weapon

[a PB?],

the Death Star

[oh wait! – a what?!],

an armoured space station

[ah! The bowls pavilion! – true, nobody has ever been able to penetrate its walls]

with enough power to destroy an entire planet

[I think they’re quite a friendly bunch in the bowls club, they just don’t wake up very early on weekends].

Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents

[those pesky pacers are everywhere!],

Princess Leia

[Jo was RD last week]


[see above!]

home aboard her starship

[it’s true, she does have some shiny new wheels!],

custodian of the stolen plans

[kept securely within her waterproof flipchart]

that can save her people

[we prefer ‘parkrunners’]

and restore freedom to the galaxy

[that’s a little bit over the top, we’re just putting on a free, weekly, timed 5k walk, jog or run in the park]....


So yes, it was parkrun #210 on May the Fourth, a.k.a. ‘Star Wars Day’.  Jo was our RD, sorry, 'R2-D2' for the day and began by announcing the parkrunner of the month for April:  Lydia Hayden.  With 5 PBs in the last 2 months and a superb all-time improvement of over 21 minutes, we say a hearty congratulations.  Lydia, your medal is ready for you next time you’re at parkrun.


Several other Star Wars characters were visible in the park, including one stupid pacer wearing a dressing gown, sorry, a Jedi robe!


So onto the results:

A fine first finish from the Padawan (Jedi trainee), young Ben WOODING in a super 18:25.  In fact junior parkrunners made up 3 of our first 5 finishers on Saturday with Jacob AMIES and Hal EASTWOOD also setting impressive times.

Imogen HAYNES was our first female finisher, for the fifth time!  123 parkruns and 3 PBs this year – great running Imogen!


Thank you to the amazing 40 volunteers who made parkrun #210 happen.  There was quite some excitement in the funnel towards the end of parkrun as the number of parkrunners clocked up.  With our record of 439 set in March, when 430 was passed, we wondered if a record was about to be set!

431, 432, 433, 434, that ties the second highest turnout … then 435, 436, 437 and 438.  One short of a record, but another fine turnout from everyone.


Within those 438 were an impressive 86 new PBs and 47 first timers, of whom 25 were tourists and 22 were completely new to parkrun – welcome one and all.


With lightsabers safely stowed away for another year, it was time to wrap up parkrun #210 and look forward to event #211.

Until then remember:

The Force will be with you.  Always.



George Lucas


(with a little help from Roger Pangbourne)




Run Report #208 – 20th April by Liz Almond

Off we went to burn some calories before all the Easter chocolate on this absolutely glorious, warm and sunny Easter Saturday. I heard some had their hot cross buns before they started, yum!

parkrun#208 saw 397 runners and 38 volunteers. Thank-you for the much needed lovely high 5s from our volunteers. Bunny ears were spotted and our sunny park run saw some tourists from as far away as South Africa and closer to home Lancashire.
A PB for Adam Barber crossing the finish line first,well done. 76 runners got PBs. Reaching their 100th parkruns were Matthew Taylor, Daniel Taylor and Lee Whitehill. Sarah Conway doing brilliantly brought parkrun 208 to a close with the tail walkers Patricia Morris and Anne knights and we had 51 first timers.
We're about to have lots of first timers on Easter Sunday. A brand new junior parkrun in Desborough for 4 - 14 year olds and every Sunday after that from 9am. A first for Desborough then we celebrate a very special event the week after.....
Market Harborough parkrun turns 4 years old!!!!!!
So exciting and thrilling that we get to be a part of that special day. Bring cake, the more home-made the better.
Life has changed for the better for me in a year. When they say running can change your life it certainly can. Barring injury i wont stop running. In May I'll be celebrating my 50th parkrun.
I first ran when i was a teenager after leaving school and loved it but after getting married hubby and i dipped into it over the years not really taking it seriously. So April 2018 i took the plunge and decided to give it a go AGAIN, with friends encouragement. It led to making new friends from parkrun, entering races, becoming part of the parkrun community and i can run 10 miles almost comfortably. I've volunteered and rather than watching from the sidelines hubby's volunteered. He's volunteered 35 times. Even the dog's volunteered,she's a good tail walker.Brings her own tail.
I didn't start parkrun until June 2018. I always wanted to do it but wasn't confident enough until my lovely friend Julie Swinn encouraged me. I haven't looked back,wish i'd done it earlier. There's nothing stopping you from encouraging your friends and maybe family members to give it a go. Who needs a lie in on a Saturday anyway!
Paul Sinton Hewitt, the founder of parkrun had only 13 amateur runners for his very first parkrun. Who knew 15 years later there would be over 1 million runners and over 500 parkruns who come together every Saturday morning.
Paul built us a playground so that anyone could come and take part, all ages, all abilities with no terms and conditions and even better for FREE! The Queen made him a CBE in her 2014 birthday honours list for his ‘services to grass roots sports participation’. Well deserved.
No one need feel excluded and you'll never be last. Spare a thought for the back markers and give them a cheer and plenty of room to finish, after all it's their run too. Help your friend(s) over the line but remember not to cross it twice!
We're so lucky to have a parkrun at Welland Park where we can run or walk each Saturday morning all managed by our excellent group of volunteers. Thank-you run directors who set up and keep us in order each week. Thank-you Michael Brown,this weeks run director.
I love how friendships flourish at park run, people encourage you, it leads to other things such as signing up for races, cycling events, swim events. You get stronger, your time improves, you might have a goal in mind, you might even lose some weight and you become more confident. People come out of their shells and are happy to try new things like volunteering at parkrun. It's easy to help out for a hour then enjoy a coffee in the cafe afterwards.
Where would we be without a bit of cake or a bacon sarnie at the cafe after a good run or to get a coffee before you volunteer on a cold day. Meeting up with friends discussing stats, races, injuries or just being happy you got round. We've got it all at Welland Park. A superb cafe, a place for our dogs to run round, a play area for children as well as Sundays junior parkrun. Please remember we do have to share the park with those who don't participate in parkrun so give them plenty of room. I know myself i've been in the zone and nearly crashed into one particular lady with her shopping trolley!
I just love how parkrun has a great community spirit. I see so many smiling faces before and after. A few nervous ones too who soon relax and enjoy themselves. I hear stories of people saying why didn't they do it sooner like me and records broken each week when they get a PB. Plus lots of sweaty runners glistening in the sunshine and it's not even summer!
If you have something to say then why not be a parkrun report writer and tell us your story.
A very Happy Easter everyone.I'm off to volunteer at Desboroughs junior parkrun.
Good luck to all those from our parkrun heading to London to run the London Marathon on the 28th April.
Next weekend come celebrate Market Harborough parkruns 4th birthday, can't wait to be part of the next 4 years. Oh and bring CAKE!

Run Report #207 – 13th April 2019 by Stuart Beard – the man with the blue hair!

Standing in the middle of the start ‘crowd’ in Welland Park, I am as likely as most of you to claim that I’m ‘not a real runner’, using my solid frame and mediocre times as testimony. However, like many of you my current running journey is both fuelled by and anchored by the parkrun, and the people that I have met at the parkrun. For the past 18 months, I have been taking parkrun and running in general a little more seriously, and can see my friends doing the same. Naturally, pb’s have fallen along the way but interestingly, there has been a definite trend of parkrunners graduating from 5k to 10k, but then not stopping there, “if I can do 10k, maybe a half marathon” for some “if I can do a half marathon, I can do a marathon”.  Almost everyone has a marathon in them, given the right training and a heap of determination!

April is a key month for Half Marathons and Marathons. Last week I ran the Manchester Marathon with Leanne Shrive (her 1st), who started running at parkrun. This week Simon and Molly run their 1st and 2nd Half marathons they started running at parkrun. In 2 weeks Wiki, Paul and my running buddy Simon Poynton run London, guess how their running journey started…?

There will be many more of you taking the challenge of a parkrun 5k further, and that’s brilliant and good luck to you. For those who a weekly parkrun is quite enough of a challenge, thank you very much; I salute you too. Despite our protestations we are all runners in our own way!

Back to this week. After a very composed pre-run briefing from Heather, 375 runners enjoyed bright but cool conditions, obviously conducive to fast times as 66 of us recorded Pb’s, including Adam Barber our first finisher. We had 39 first timers and 38 wonderful volunteers. Our 207th parkrun was a great event, just like the previous 206

Stuart Beard (with blue hair)


Run Report #206 – 6th April 2019 by Jo Hemmings

parkrun Report – Event 206

parkrun number 206; what a lovely morning for a three-lap (!) run, jog or walk around Welland Park.  I was the 25-minute pacer this morning and loved every minute; it is such a joy to participate in parkrun as a runner and volunteer.  Well done and thank you to all 399 Market Harborough parkrunners and the 33 volunteers who made today’s run so enjoyable.

Through parkrun, my family and I have built lasting friendships and have spent our happiest times.  I now cannot imagine not turning-up to Welland Park at 9am on a rainy/sunny/windy/frosty/snowy Saturday morning!  I love participating in parkrun (be it running or volunteering) immensely, but it is running with my two young boys in their very-old-and-quite-tatty-with-a-dodgy-suspension-and-usually-a-flat(ish)-tyre double pushchair that I enjoy the most, and I would like to thank all of you runners, joggers, walkers and volunteers for making Market Harborough parkrun such a welcoming and inclusive event. It is a privilege to be able to run with my sons, and in my run report, I wanted to try to capture what parkrun means to me.

Thank you all (and a big thank you to the team at the Park Café for supplying us with copious amounts of coffee after the stresses of pushing two small boys three times around Welland Park in their pushchair!!)


Mummy?! Are we parkrunning today…?

Yes! Now where’s your left welly?

And please stop throwing the ball at the telly.

8:30!  Come on!  Coats on you two!

But Mummy?!  I need another poo…!

We’re out! Hooray! (a bit close to the wire)

Mummy?! Yes love?  We’ve got a flat tyre!

We made it, we’re here, my family and I,

I turn to the runner next to me, smile, say hi.

The weather’s perfect; neither too cold nor too muggy

And we’re raring to go with the double-buggy.

The atmosphere is friendly and it’s warm and it’s happy,

I relax (and then my youngest fills his nappy…)

We’re off! The heavy pushchair is hard to master

But I’m soon in my stride, ‘Faster Mummy! Faster!’

I pass smiling marshals and I revel in my luck

That we’re part of this parkrun, ‘MUMMY!!! DUCK!!’

I acknowledge the duck and shout an obligatory, ‘QUACK!’

As we glide past the Welland and start the loop back.

We hi-five Austin and give Grandad Jim a smile,

Are we nearly there yet??! No! We’ve only done a mile!

Kids! Wellies back on and please just have a rest

I’m trying to get my parkrun Double-Buggy Personal Best!

But the youngest’s bottom lip goes out and his brother starts to scream

Something about Roy’s café and a mini-milk ice-cream…

Lap three, I’m tired and my legs (and will!) are slowing,

But a lovely runner encourages me and it’s enough to keep me going.

I pant my way to the finish and am met with cheerful faces

Reminding me that parkrun is the friendliest of places,

An all-inclusive club, where it’s safe and free to have fun

And all you need to do is walk, jog or run.

Jo Hemmings


Run Report #205 – 30th March 2019 by Fleur Kellie


This was the first time I had ever been to a parkrun and it was a lovely warm sunny Saturday morning and Round Table (of which my dad is a member) had volunteered to help.  I was therefore also helping out!  I didn’t know what to expect having never been to a parkrun before.

As I arrived, there were plenty of volunteers and Round Tablers in high viz jackets, setting up and trying to understand their jobs, funnelling, token collecting etc..  Even at 8:30 there were some keen runners beginning to warm up before the run.

There was an attendance of around 400 people which really shows how great these events are for local communities. Some people were taking it very seriously, some were just there to have some fun and get some exercise.

When the run had started, it was a great feeling cheering the runners as they started off, the claps, the cheers, the smiles and the panting dogs were all part of it, and the run really showed to me people’s persistence and the ‘never giving up feeling’ inside all of us.  It was nice to get the occasional thank you from the runners – from those who could find the breath…!

As I said before I would encourage people to help out at a parkrun as they are a great way to meet new people or old friends, and the feeling of helping and cheering so many different people was very rewarding.  Each run needs 30-40 volunteers.

Round Table (with some help from 41 Club and Tangent) provided around 20 of those volunteers.

Market Harborough Round Table are a group of 25-40 year old men who meet up one night every 2 weeks to either have a laugh and do something fun or plan and help others in and around the town of Market Harborough.  In June we run 'It's a Knockout' at the Harborough Carnival.  In December, you'll also see our members manning the Santa sleigh, loved and cherished for years by the local community in Desborough and the customers of Sainsburys.
There are about 10 members already in Market Harborough Round Table from all walks of life.  Join us, get involved with your community & make lasting friendships.
Come along to one of our nights out to see what we are about.  Friends, Banter & the odd beer (or 2).
As long as you're a man older than 18 and younger than 45 – you can join.


Fleur Kellie (aged 12)


Run Report #202 – 9th March 2019 by Roger Pangbourne

Just a quick little Run Report for today – not even many stats!!


The day started early – a good pilot friend and I were due to fly from Leicester to Henstridge Airfield parkrun.  Last week was postponed due to low cloudbase and this morning at stupid o’clock we had to call it of again due to gusting winds (a decision that we were very happy about when we experienced these at Welland Park later in the day!)


So plan B was a ‘home’ trip to lovely Welland Park and a chance to catch up with friends all round, with of course one of the best breakfasts you’ll find at any parkrun.


A busy morning at the bowls pavilion as 50 (yes 50! – the second highest we’ve ever had) volunteers all queued up with Jo (RD in charge today) to announce their presence (loads of Duke of Edinburgh students, many of whom are near to completing their relevant awards – congrats).  A huge thank you to all the volunteers – after we only had one Marshal earlier in the week, we were bowled over by how many volunteers rallied to Jo’s cry for assistance.  Thank you all.


Jo gave a lovely briefing at the start, with everyone agreeing to a ‘deal’ with Jo to only overtake on the right, keep to the left and single file at all the narrowest parts and the bit I particularly liked:  If you start with a dog, we want you to finish with the dog (not hand it to some unsuspecting volunteer) and if you start with a child, it’s generally a good idea to finish with a child! J


A postponed parkrunner of the month medal award for Sylvia (great running recently Sylvia!) and we were off.

Sylvia protm

Due to my unexpected appearance at MH today, I wasn’t due to fill any other volunteer roles – no VI guiding or pacing, so I was ‘just’ parkrunning.  It’s a while since that happened and I was unsure whether I was just going to drift around casually or set off like a man possessed.  Well when I hear “3-2-1-parkrun!” something inside me clicks so I was off like a shot (well, and unfit, overweight shot) and settling into a pace that I knew wouldn’t last:

1stkm:  4:17 (too quick)

2ndkm: 4:26 (o.k. ish)

3rdkm: 4:25 (that surprised me)

4thkm:  4:38 (here we go!)

5thkm: 4:37 (could have pushed it a bit more, but good enough)


Later on parkrun time completed in 22:39 (not even a bingo number :( !)


On the way around I was able to observe our lovely parkrun and I couldn’t spot any ‘incidents’, so well done everyone and thank you for sticking to Jo’s ‘deal’.


One of our parkrun Ambassadors was visiting today (Mark), so after collecting my finish token I trot across the field to run the final lap with him – he’s on a good run of form at the moment, so I ‘encourage’ (if that’s the correct word?) him around the last 300m. Later on a time of 25:22 is confirmed – result! – an MH PB for him by 22 seconds and his quickest parkrun time since 2015 – well done Mark!


After scanning, I wander down the straight helping ensure all the other parkrunners who have finished are still keeping left to the left so as not to block anyone still running.  I decide to pick on someone else to ‘encourage’ their finish.  From 450m out, Allyson duly creates a 20 second gap from the position she was in – well done Allyson, there’s more in the tank!


As the winds blow in a shower-and-a-half, it’s time to start helping tidy up the kit ready for next week and soon I find myself sat outside the café having breakfast with Mark in the sunshine!  We pass the time contemplating how parkrun does amazing things for so many people, before stepping inside for some obligatory cake and check in with Jo and Clive who are finishing off today’s results.


So there we go.  Another little Run Report dashed off.  There are plenty of gaps in the volunteer roster for the Run Report Writer role – one of the few volunteer roles that can be done whilst also parkrunning the course.  If you have a story to share and would like to have a go for this role, just let us know and we’d love to hear from you in future.


For now, well done to all 387 parkrunners and 50 volunteers who all made today happen.  Congratulations to Mark and the other 60 of you who recorded PBs today – great stuff.  We welcomed 24 first timers, of whom 8 were completely new to parkrun.  We hope you return again and again and grow to love parkrun as we all do.


Have a great week everyone.



Roger Pangbourne


Run Report #200 – 23rd February 2019 by Catherine Jeffs

Run number 200

We’re all raring to go

Don’t start off too quickly

Don’t finish too slow


We listen intently

To the do’s, don’ts and please

Keep left unless overtaking

Dogs kept on short leads


The countdown to signal

We’ll soon start to run

It’s not cold or icy

We’re here to have fun!


We’re into our running

We’re off on our way

We’ll soon reach the finish

And get on with the day


But it’s not always easy

We don’t all fly round

One foot before the other

Keeps hitting the ground


Lap 1 now is over

Just 2 left to go

More runners go past us

We go with the flow


Lots now have finished

Today they have cake

But some still keep going

More steps left to take


And now it’s gone quiet

I feel all alone

Into the last lap

The last km home


But one thing about parkrun

You’re never alone

The marshals, the tail walkers,

They’ll see you get home


In a flash it is over

Just a jog in the park

It’s over till next week

It will all again start

The pacers, the timekeepers

The guides and the boss

Without them it won’t happen

We’d all be so lost


So thank you to everyone

Who helped us today

The 50 runs t-shirt –

Will soon come my way.


A few more to go yet

But I know I’ll be back

To Harborough or Corby

(my passport I’ll pack)


There’s nothing like parkrun

To kickstart your day

And we’ll all keep on running

Our own speeds, our own way



Run Report #198 – 9th February 2019 by Roger Pangbourne


I didn’t used to know anyone who was blind.

Or even anyone with any kind of what you would call a ‘visual impairment’.  But I still remember my first Run Director meeting when Brian (our original Event Director) raised the topic of ‘PROVE’ (parkrun; Running or Volunteering for Everyone) and whether anyone wanted to help investigate some training as a Visually Impaired (VI) Guide.

I’ve thought about it and I don’t really know why guiding a blind or visually impaired runner interested me, but it did.  Perhaps it was fascination.  Perhaps it was admiration.  Perhaps it was because I was used to pacing and this seemed something else new to try? It certainly wasn’t any thought that it could be such a rewarding activity.

Roll forward around 15 months and this weekend I was guiding for the 10th time.  In that time I’ve guided 4 different VI parkrunners, some completely blind and others with different visual impairments.  Three of these are now regulars at MH (Wiki, Vanessa and Jan) and the other was Haseeb, the blindfold ironman triathlon world record holder (thankfully he was coming back after an injury when we ran together as Haseeb is quiiiiick!).  2 of those 10 guiding experiences have been with First Timers (Haseeb and Jan) and I’ve hopefully had a hand in 4 PBs (Wiki x 2, Vanessa and Jan) – certainly more PBs than I’ve achieved on my own of late!!

Now pacing is rewarding and the thanks that those who finish just before or just after you is wonderful – all I’ve usually done is shouted at people (maybe not at them!) all the way around the course, but VI guiding is something else…

Guiding has delivered probably my most emotional parkrun experience:  I was guiding young Jan for her first parkrun experience.  Jan is in the ‘VW 65-69’ age category and following her instructions, we were fast-walking around the course.  It was our last lap and on the return from the Turnaround Trees I asked if she fancied a little jog.  We jogged for around 50 metres above the river stretch.  We returned to a walking pace before saying ‘hi’ to Austin again and Jan said to me:  “That’s the first time I’ve run … since school.”  !!!  Wow! It makes me well-up every time I tell the story.  We also jogged down the finish straight that day on our way to a time of 56:38.

Today should have been Jan’s 10th parkrun, but she had forgotten her barcode!  After a little period of illness Jan had once again given me the instruction to only walk, but this time we probably managed 6 or 7 jogs before finishing in 55:25.  A way off Jan’s current PB of 46:21, but she was delighted to still be quicker than her first outing – even if she won’t receive the run credit for today.  (#DFYB!)

Since our first VI guiding trials with blindfolded parkrunners, we have now welcomed 8 different VI runners and have a wonderful team of VI Guides.  Some have attended official training events (there’s an excellent ‘Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running Workshop’ run by England Athletics) or we have trained many of our own local parkrunners.  Essentially once you have donned a blindfold yourself and run a few laps around Welland Park with a VI Guide, you are very well prepared to be a VI Guide yourself.  A number of our regular RDs are also trained VI guides so can answer any queries people may have and the VI Guide team is currently led by Jo Raine.

VI Guiding now, compared to my first time at MH is a wonderful thing.  Not only for all of the stuff I’ve mentioned above, but also because you wonderful parkrunners know only to overtake us on the right-hand side and it’s great when we hear a shout out of ‘passing on the right’ or something similar when you’re overtaking (we’re often too busy nattering to hear you coming otherwise!).  Market Harborough parkrun has truly embraced VI running and we thank all of you for helping make this happen.

My VI workshop was also attended by a blind runner called Netty.  She told us that she used to be casual runner and when she lost her sight, the biggest thing she missed was running.  So finding some people with whom she could run and act as VI Guides was life-changing for her.  I’d add it can not only be so rewarding for VI runners, but also for the VI Guides.

If you’re interested in joining our team of VI Guides, we’d love to hear from you – just pop us a note on Facebook, an email or come and chat to us at parkrun one day.

I now know several blind people and others who are visually impaired.  My life is warmer and fuller as a result.


Roger Pangbourne


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